Joyce Meyer - The Power of Choice
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". Today, I wanna talk to you about the power of choice. You know, God has given us free choice. In Deuteronomy 30:19, it says: "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. So now, choose life, so that you and your children may live". Do you realize that every decision that you make affects your children and, or other people.
Now, I just really wanna make sure that you get this. So, God sets before us, life and death. Life, death, it's not hard to decide which one to choose. Or blessing or curses, it's not hard to decide which one to choose. He even gives us a hint, in case we can't figure it out. "Choose life that you and your descendants may live". You know, why did God give us free choice? I kinda think it was like, God's risk, whenever he decided to give man free choice. But he doesn't want robots that have no choice but to do what he wants them to do. He wants people that choose, of their own free will, to love him, to be obedient to him, to live their life for him.
And so, choice is a great benefit. It shows that God puts his trust in us. Choice gives us authority. And I like that. I like the scriptures about, "You reap what you sow", because I feel like that also gives me some authority over what's gonna happen in my life. But the thing that I wanna make sure that you realize today is that not only does having free choice give you authority but it gives you responsibility. And sometimes, we don't think about that. Oh, it's so wonderful to be able to choose what I'm gonna do, but there's always a consequence to every decision that we make. It may be a great, wonderful consequence. But if we make the wrong choice, then it's not a very good consequence.
And because people today, especially, are not real fond of taking responsibility... There was a time when being responsible was considered the honorable thing to do. But it seems like today, there's a lot of people that try to avoid responsibility. But we can't do that with the things of God. If you workout regularly at a gym, or you exercise regularly, or you walk regularly, whatever, you're going to reap the benefits of that. You're gonna have a good consequence from that.
You say, "Well, I tried it and all I got was sore". Well, you didn't go long enough to make sure that it started doing you any good. But how many people do, even, Dave and I know, I'm sure you know people, they look ten years older than what they are, they feel bad, they have practically, no muscle mass, and they'll look at people that are in good shape and say, "Well, I wish I looked like that", or, "I wish I was that strong". Well, the people that are strong, didn't get it by wishing, they did it by making the right choice. And you know, when I talk about wisdom, when I teach out of the book of Proverbs, I always like to say, and this is my own definition of wisdom, but I think it's accurate, that wisdom is choosing to do now what you will be satisfied with later on.
You see, when we live by emotion, we do what feels good right now. But then, later on, many times, we're sorry that we made that choice. But to be a wise person means that you do now, even if it's hard, what you will be satisfied with later on in your life. Joshua 24:15, Joshua said a wise thing. He said, "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the God your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Well, I love that. Are you just doing what your friends do because you'll be included in the group? Or, are you serving God whether they want to or not?
Sometimes we have to be willing to stand alone if it means doing the right thing. So many people let what other people think of them and say about them, and do or don't do, determine their decisions for life. But it's really very foolish because when it all comes down to it, you, and you alone, are going to bear the consequences of your decisions. Now, we don't want to let other people make our choices for us. That doesn't mean that we can't get advice from somebody. Maybe you need a word of advice, and so you go to a couple people and you ask them what they would do. But the bottom line is, is the final choice must be yours, because let me say it again, you, and you alone, are going to bear the consequences of your choice.
I don't know if you've noticed or not, but a lot of people like to give you a lot of advice, and everybody has an opinion. But your life belongs to you, and you need to, not just do what you wanna but what you feel like God would want you to do in every situation in life. Some people will control you if you let them. But you know what? You have just as much responsibility to not let them control you as they have to not try to control you. Control really, is a type of witchcraft. The devil tries to control but God always leads and guides, and leaves us with the choice. But when people are giving you the message, "If you don't do what I want, then we're not going to be friends", or, "You're gonna be out of the group", you need to stand firm and do what you believe God wants you to do.
My dad controlled my mom, and she basically, had no life. It was really sad. It still makes me sad when I think about her life because she never really got to do anything. She didn't enjoy much in life. She didn't get to have hardly any friends. And he was wrong in trying to control her, but she was equally wrong in letting him do it. Make choices now, that you're not going to regret later. What does regret mean? It means to feel sorry for, to be disappointed, or distressed about, to feel grief over, to mourn, a sense of loss for something that is gone, distress over an action taken or not taken. And you know what? Some of you have that right now. You have regret in your life because you haven't made the decisions that you knew you should make, our even decisions that you wanted to make.
How often do you know what you should do and you're headed in the right direction, but somebody else criticizes your decision, and so you decide to do what they think you should do, instead of doing what you believe God wants you to do. I'm urging you today, to be a God-pleaser not a people-pleaser. Be a God-pleaser not a man-pleaser. You know, the apostle Paul said something powerful in Galatians, 1:10, and I think about it often. He said, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not now be a servant of Christ". The Amplified translation says, "If I were trying to be popular with people".
Now, think about that. We wanna be popular. We want people to like us. But he said, "If my goal was to be popular with people", in the Amplified it said, "I would not now be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ". I just wonder today, how many people are missing their destiny because they're letting other people run their life instead of being bold enough to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit? You know, I believe that there are even people who won't have a relationship with God at all because of what their family or their friends might think if they did. John 12:42 and 43, bear that out. "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him", him being Jesus. So, many people believed in Jesus. "But because of the Pharisees", those were the religious, elite, "They would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue".
My goodness. Is there anybody watching, who won't openly admit to your faith because you may not get invited to go to lunch with everybody else at work if you do? How many people won't openly admit your faith because you won't get invited to the party if you do? Or people will think you're all the different names, they call you: a holy roller, or a Bible thumper, you know, Jesus freak, a radical. You know what? If you're gonna be radical for anything, be radical for Jesus, not something that the world offers you. Make a decision to do what you believe God wants you to do, not what people want you to do.
Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't please people. The Bible actually tells us, in one place, to live to please others and not our self, but that's talking about not being selfish and self-centered. What I'm talking about is if it comes down to: I'm gonna please God or I'm gonna please people, then you have to make the decision: well, you don't have to, you have a choice, then you need to choose to put God first. Because if you, "Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness", his way of being and doing, "Then all of these other things will be added unto you". Always keep God first in your life and everything else will go right. Being led by the Holy Spirit as a mark of spiritual maturity.
Romans 8:14, says: "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God". One translation says, "The children of God", one says, "The sons of God". It shows that we belong to God when we're led by the Holy Spirit. So, I'm gonna talk to you about a handful of choices that you need to make. We all need to make 'em. And these are all pretty simple, but they're some of the things that get us in the biggest trouble if we don't make the right choice. So, first of all, choose to get past your past. You know, your history doesn't have to be your destiny. And I'm living proof of that, as well as, many of you that are watching today, that have a powerful testimony about what God has done in your life.
I was abused sexually by my dad, abandoned by my mother, married the first guy that came along because I thought nobody would ever want me. He was unfaithful to me from the very beginning, abandoned me several times in other cities and just left. I was hurt a lot and had a lot of reasons to be bitter and to be resentful, and I was for a long time. But that's not the way of God. And so, I finally, realized from scripture and from the Holy Spirit dealing with me that I needed to let go of what was behind and press toward the things that are ahead.
If that's not something you've done yet, if your mourning today, over something you should have done 20 years ago, and didn't do, you need to let that go. If you're still bitter and angry over something that somebody did to you ten years ago, you need to let that go, you need to forgive 'em and press toward the good things that God has for you in your future. Be full of hope. Don't just be full of regrets. Do you have a victim mentality? Or do you have a mentality of having victory in your life? No matter what's happened to you in the past, when you receive Christ as your Savior, the Bible says that you become a brand-new creature. Think about that, brand-new creature.
Listen to 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any person is ingrafted in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether): the old previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. And behold, the fresh and the new has come"! Somebody needs to be encouraged by that today. You're not what you used to be. The moment that you receive Christ as your Savior, all your sins are forgiven, not only past sins but current sins and even future sins. But you have to receive the forgiveness that Jesus already paid for when he was on the cross. No matter what God wants to give us, we must receive it by faith.
And so, I'm reading you scripture and telling you today, that you don't have to live your life now, based on what has happened to you or what you've done in the past. There's no sin that you've committed that is too big for God to forgive you. And not only does he forgive you, but the Bible says, "He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more". I finally realized that I was wasting my time to keep bringing up old sins to God and constantly asking for forgiveness for the same things because I was talking to him about things he had forgotten about. You're a new creature in Christ. I like to say, "You're new spiritual clay". There's a work that needs to be done in us and the Holy Spirit lives in us, as believers in Christ, to help that process of changing us into the image of Jesus Christ.
You have a future, but sometimes you've gotta press into new beginnings because the devil will definitely try to take it away from you. I thought I would always have a second-rate life. But boy, was I wrong for believing the lies of the devil. Not only do I not have a second-rate life, but I believe that God took all the things that were done to me that were wrong and actually worked them out for my good. I believe that I have a better life and I'm a better person than I would have been had I not gone through what I went through. "All things are possible with God". God can do so many wonderful things in your life, things that you cannot even imagine right now, that he would do. But start saying, "All things are possible with God".
Now, I wanna talk to you for a moment about choosing your thoughts. That's something that a lot of people wouldn't think they could do. I know I had a lot of years in my life, where I just thought, "Well, I can't help what I think", you know? If it's there, it's there. But that's not true. You can choose your thoughts because the Bible says, "To cast down, or to cast out wrong imaginations, theories, reasonings, cast those out and bring every thought captive under the obedience of Jesus Christ". Wow, that sounds like a full-time job, doesn't it? Well, you know what? In the beginning, it is very difficult. You have to get in practice. You have to know the Word of God to even know what a wrong thought is. But the more you study the word, for example, the Bible says not to be jealous, that jealousy rots the bones.
And so, at one time, I didn't know that was a problem. I'd be jealous of somebody and didn't even realize that my thoughts were wrong. But now, if the thought of jealousy comes into my mind, I know, right away, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the scripture that tells me not to be jealous. And I know to cast down that wrong thought. And sometimes, I'll even talk out loud and say, "Nope. I'm not gonna be jealous. That's not God's will. Father, I pray for that person to be blessed in every way and I'm happy for them". You can think what God wants you to think, you don't have to think whatever falls into your head.
That scripture that I just quoted was 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5. Let me say it again. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds". You know what a stronghold is? It's an area that Satan takes over in your thought life. It's an area where he hides himself and buries himself and hopefully gets you to believe lies, which is deception. We are deceived when we believe something that is not true. I wonder how many lies you believe today? Are there lies that I still believe that I don't know that I'm believing?
Probably, possibly, and I pray that God will reveal them to me and show me. I don't want to spend my life believing lies. I wanna know the truth because only the truth can make us free. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God". And let me get this across to you one more time. "And we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Jesus Christ". The Bible tells us that we have to renew our minds, and we do that with the Word of God.
Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed", be changed into the image of Jesus Christ, "By the renewing of your mind". This is the key to victory: renewing your mind, learning how to think the way God wants you to think. If you wanna have what God wants you to have, then you have to learn to think the way God wants you to think, and to say what God would say, not just speak and think out of your emotions, and think all kinds of things that the world would think. We're not to be conformed to this world, we're to be transformed, changed entirely by the renewal of our mind.
"Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will". That's such a good scripture because it's saying if you ever really want to see the perfect will of God manifested in your life, then you must work with the Holy Spirit to have your mind renewed according to the Word of God. Another choice: choose your words and choose them very carefully.
Now, the Bible says that "No man can tame the tongue", that it's "A reckless, irreconcilable evil". And so, we need God's help. We need to pray. I pray everyday, "God, put a watch over my mouth lest I sin against you with my tongue. God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation in my heart be acceptable in your sight". I know that I can't do it without God and I still make mistakes with my mouth. But those of you who are big talkers, you need to be on your guard doubly because people who talk a lot have a tendency to make more mistakes with their mouth than those who are a little bit quieter. No wonder the Bible says, "Be quick to hear and slow to speak".
As we often say, just to have a little laugh, God obviously, wants us to hear more than we speak because he gave us two ears and one mouth. Otherwise, we would have two mouths and one ear. Proverbs 18:21, says it all really, "The tongue has the power of life and death", life and death words carry power, "And those who love it will eat its fruit". You know, words are containers for power just like this cup contains my water that I'm gonna have a drink of, right now. Yum, yum, very good. But you know what? We could have filled that full of mud. That wouldn't have tasted very good. Your words are containers for power, and you can choose - there's our big word again, today - you can choose what you wanna fill those words with.
Actually, the Bible says in James 1:26, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless". Oh, my goodness. Do you know, some religious people are some of the biggest gossips that you can find anywhere? Some, not all, thankfully, but some are very critical, and judgmental, and negative, and they think they're so religious because they go to church two- or three-times a week. But the Bible says your religion is worthless and useless if you don't control your tongue.
We make all kinds of choices everyday. You can be bitter and resentful, or you can forgive. You can feel sorry for yourself, or you can take responsibility for your attitude, your thoughts, your words, and ask God to work with you to change you. You can complain about your life, or you can do something about your life. You can talk about what you don't have, or you can be thankful for what you do have. You can choose right now, today, to let this become a new beginning for you. You can choose to be thankful, to trust, to have joy, to have peace. You can choose not to be full of self-pity, jealousy, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness. These are things that poison our life and steal our joy. Start today, making good choices, choices that agree with God, and you are going to see some new and wonderful things happen in your life.
Now, today, we're offering you, "Unleashing God". Four teachings, I believe you're gonna really enjoy them. And we're offering this to you today, for your gift to the ministry of any amount. We trust you to do the very best that you can, and maybe those of you, who are more financially blessed, can you give something extra to make up for those who maybe really need the book, but can only send in a small amount. Let's all do the best we can for the glory of God.